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Quickbooks stores its data in password-protected .QBB files. Are these files encrypted with this password? If someone gets .QBB file, do they need the password (either by knowing it or by brute forcing it) to access the accounting records?

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Given the number of password recovery programs and services, I think it's safe to say that if QBB files are encrypted, they're not done so rigorously or securely.

You didn't state your OS, QB version, or reason for wanting to know why, but I assume you're either

  1. Wanting to recover a lost password
  2. Concerned about secure storage
  3. Concerned about secure transfer

(ignoring the other option of wanting to open someone else's backup file).
For the first case, the above-linked utilities can probably help you, and Google lists others too.

If secure storage is the issue, you can either use the Windows Encrypting File System, or go to the next level and use the excellent open source TrueCrypt. Either will give you on-the-fly transparent secure storage, although the former will allow access to anyone with your Windows user password.

If secure transfer is the issue, you could again use TrueCrypt to encrypt the file before sending it, or else you could use any of the zip / compression utilities that provide encryption. Personally I prefer 7-zip for its open source nature, but most compression tools include similar functionality.

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